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THYROID GLAND

Definition

Vertebrate endocrine gland. In fishes it consists of a group of discrete follicular cells, located on the floor of the pharynx, that synthesize the iodinated thyroid hormones 3,5,3'-tri-iodothyronine (T3) and 3,5,3',5'-tetra-iodothyronine (thyroxine T4). The exact role of these hormones in fishes is unclear, but they appear to be important in adaption to environmental changes such as temperature and osmotic stress and to the rapid internal changes during growth and sexual maturation.

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